diumenge, d’agost 12, 2007

Weight of the Past (English)

The weight of the past is heavy. It pulls me back to a world rich with stories and tall-tales, a childhood of privation and suffering, of illness and profound sadness, and still a tapestry far richer than the one I behold today.

Soon I will have no one to share my ancient world with. My mother will fade into the Ultimate Question, surely dragging what little pride any of us has left down with her, and I will scatter her ashes with full knowledge that I'm likely to be next, perhaps even the last.

And when I do, no love will be there to calm my heavy sobs, no kin to tell stories to. There will be no one to witness my keening as I beg to know who will bury me. My fortune: to bury my father and my mother and face the abyss with cold hands.

It should be so. I know death well. We have walked many miles together in the host of hearses and coffins, of hospital gowns and ashen remains. My brother is ill formed to live in a world of emptiness and sorrow. His world is small and poor, but it's nearly as big now as it ever was.

I could not bear to leave him here alone. For his sake, I will take on the mantle of Last Leaf.

He doesn't have my past, our family's past, with houses and icons and reputations. He wasn't there to hear all the old stories, to be wrapped up in the self-agrandized myth of small-town Pennsylvania German bourgeoisie.

Even so, most of those wily old sons-of-a-bitch laughed all the way to grave, forsaking those few dregs of us left like empty coffee cups at the train station. How ashamed I am that I loved most of them as well as I did.

My mother's fondest quote: "I swore I would never sacrifice anything for my children, and I never have."

My own fondest: "What ever I've done, I've done inspite of you and without you. The best things you ever did for me were not kill me and not get in my way."

So many graves to spit on, and not nearly enough gin in all the world...